Sheffield vicar Hilary Alflatt repeatedly beat woman – jury finds – BBC


A "sadistic" vicar subjected a woman to repeated beatings with a bamboo cane for nearly a decade, a jury has found.
Hilary Alflatt, 87, assaulted the woman on a number of occasions between 1983 and 1992 while working in Sheffield.
The woman told police she endured "a life of hell for 10 years" at the hands of Alflatt who was married at the time.
Alflatt, who has dementia, was deemed unfit to plead, but after a five-day trial at Hull Crown Court jurors concluded he had assaulted the woman.
The retired vicar, previously known as Malcolm, was cleared of five other counts – two of false imprisonment and three of assault – which included claims he had held her prisoner in a room at his vicarage for five days.
The jury failed to reach a verdict on a charge of assault relating to an incident when Alflatt branded the woman with a cross-shaped mark using a red-hot needle.
In a police interview the woman, who cannot be named, said Alflatt had made her take vows of obedience, poverty and chastity, telling her that to disobey them was "to disobey God".
She said he would summon her to the vicarage where he would beat her with a cane.
She said she became "conditioned" not to disobey him, fearing "I was going to get beaten if I did".
The court heard when she eventually broke away from Alflatt she underwent a "ritual of release" to free her of her vows.
Alflatt told police it had been a consensual relationship.
He said after some time he had wanted to end it and thought that if he "caused her more pain she would leave me alone".
In her closing speech, prosecutor Louise Reevells told jurors Alflatt was "a sadistic man in a position of authority who took pleasure in hurting [his victim]".
"This was not about him trying to end it, this was about the power and control that he could exert over her," she said.
Judge Sophie McKone told the jury: "Although you found he did the acts in count seven, the court does not punish him for that because he is not fit to take part in the trial.
"He is not going to go to prison."
She said her options for dealing with the case were to hand down an absolute discharge, to make a guardianship order or to impose a hospital order.
Alflatt, of Harewood Lane, Northallerton, will be sentenced on 3 May.
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Vicar told police he branded woman to end affair
Vicar put woman through decade of hell, trial told
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